A Town Called Solace, a review by Di

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A Town Called Solace
Mary Lawson

304 pages
Penguin Random House Canada Knopf Canada
Pub Date: February 16, 2021

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Reading a book by Mary Lawson is like enjoying time with a friend. A Town called Solace is her first book in several years so it was like a reunion with an old friend.

The story is told by 3 people. Clara is a little 7-year-old girl whose older sister has run away. Mrs. Orchard is the neighbour next door who has asked Clara to mind her cat while she goes to the hospital. Liam is the stranger who shows up while Mrs. Orchard is away and makes himself at home in her home.

Right from the beginning, there is an undercurrent that all is not right. From previous books, I know it will be a while before we get to find out what that undercurrent is. It is subtle, but it is there. Written in simple language, it’s easy to get drawn into each of their stories and watch them develop.

It’s a hard book to describe. There’s no real action or huge plot developments. It’s the 3 characters coming to terms with their lives. For Mrs. Orchard and Liam, it is the past. They are dealing with. For little Clara, it is coping with the disappearance of her older sister. Each narration is interesting. Each narration comes to its own conclusion.

I love the fact that the author is Canadian. As in her previous books, the setting is Northern Ontario. While the town of Solace is fictional there does exist Solace Provincial Park in the same vicinity, where the town would be located. Other existing towns are mentioned, some of which I have visited.

The ending was good, but, I want to know what happens afterward. I think this book could easily have a sequel.

While this is not my absolute favourite book by Mary Lawson, I did enjoy it very, very much. I hope I don’t have to wait as long for her next one. People talk about “comfort food”.

I feel that this author’s books are “comfort reading”!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an Advance Readers Copy.

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